Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Boot Camp: Losing Your Discipline

Share this
I've watched the World Series of Poker this year, as I always do, and one thing's stuck out for me that I haven't noticed in past years.

Some of the game's best players were having a terrible World Series.

Erick Lindgren, for instance, was last year's Player of the Year, but this year, he barely cashed.

There were other favorites, such as Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who had a bad series, and I can't tell you why they didn't do well. But I was watching Lindgren, and I might be able to tell you why he had a bad series.

He lost his discipline. At least from what I saw in the broadcast, he checked when he should have bet, played outright scared at other times and then made stupid calls when he knew he might be beat.

I can't be judgmental of him. He's too good of a player. But I can relate. I lost my discipline, my famed discipline, this year, and I'm having a bad year as a result.

The game is changing. That's what "Jesus" talked about in an interview bit during a WSOP Main Event broadcast, as he talked about his own struggles. He said the players are better, and the plays that he would make in the past won't work as well as they did in the past.

But then he said something else that was interesting. He said he needed to modify his game, but he wouldn't change it much.

My biggest problem this year was I saw what "Jesus" saw. I saw the game had changed. And I knew I needed to change as a result. I thought that meant I needed to be a lot more aggressive, make some tough calls and make more moves to make me look unpredictable.

Playing limit was kind of an eye opener, however. It turns out I was making way too many calls because I was convinced that everyone was trying to bluff me (which they weren't), that people were trying to push me off hands with air (sometimes, but not usually) and that they were taking weak hands a lot further than I would.

I used to capitalize on those players all the time. Now I had become one of them.

I wasn't playing aggressively. I was playing stupid. I wasn't playing my game, and not only that, I had gotten really sloppy. I was making calls when I knew I was beat, or just out of curiosity or even AwFukIt calls. No discipline.

I did make some good changes to my game. I raise more now and try to build pots when I've got a hand that warrants it. I'm a lot more apt to fold when I'm out of position rather than playing a big pot. And I will occasionally make a move against a player who I know is really tight and can't take the heat.

But I'm no Tom Dwan. I can't play ultra aggressively. I just don't know how. But I know how to play stupid.

So I've kept those few changes to my game and gone back to playing the way I used to play. That means making big lay downs a lot. I've learned how to play Omaha, and that helps sharpen your discipline, because if you don't make "huge" lay downs in that game all the time, you won't win.

When I'm beat, and I usually know when I am, I lay the hand down. I wait for a good opportunity to get my chips in the middle.

Yes, that means players might occasionally push me around. But it also means I'm slowly getting my discipline back. And if I can recapture that, I think I'll be on my way to being a winning player once again.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed